Information confirmed by the Elysee Palace suggests the President is considering the construction of Small Modular Reactors, also known as SMRs. These so-called mini power plants would in turn use their output to supplement existing reactors across the country – and contribute to the power grid.
According to information from Europe 1, and supported by French TV stations TF1 and LCI, Mr Macron believes the construction would commit France to a new generation of modular reactors, considered to be more economical and ecological than more traditional models.
Valerie Faudon, a senior delegate at the French Nuclear Energy Society, said to LCI reactors would produce ten times less electricity than traditional EPR plants, which are to be deployed across France. The SMRs would therefore not be developed to replace the entire nuclear infrastructure, but more to compliment the existing apparatus.
Ms Faudon said: “They can produce heat, and they can also produce Hydrogen, with new hybridization technologies that make it possible to produce hydrogen with less water.”
The Elysee suggest that up to 50 million euros from the 30bn euro recovery plan could be invested over two years in the realization of the preliminary project.
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The Elysee suggests that up to 50 million euros from the recovery plan could be invested over two years in the realization of the preliminary project.
The introduction of SMRs would be a huge move away from the status quo of large nuclear power stations the EDF has previously concentrated on.
France is on the verge of a major shift in its domestic nuclear power policy, not by closing down older reactors that meet 70 percent of the countries electricity needs, but by looking at new types of power plants in the form of the SMRs.
With the long overdue Flamanville plant in Normandy another example of a huge EDF run nuclear energy plant, the shift to SMRs will not be a new move on the global nuclear energy scene.
The French are playing catch up in this field, with over 50 SMRs operational around the world.
Russia has a 35MW floating power station and plans to build a power gold mine in Siberia with a 50MW SMR by 2028.
China is also currently investing in SMR technology, with a 125MW unit, and in the USA, NuScale Power says it will have a first unit in Idaho by 2029.
With France recently suffering a blow to its industry following the signing of the AUKUS deal between the USA, UK and Australia, Mr Macron may be using the opportunity to divert attention back home prior to the upcoming elections.
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Relationships with neighbouring EU countries are at an all time low for Paris, and with a tough election ahead, and stern competition from Marine Le Pen on the horizon, the incumbent French President needs to win over his electorate.
The introduction of the SMRs, if built and put into production in France, will not only meet the needs of the French electricity market in a more clean and efficient manner, but will also show the world that French industry is back on the market following the bitter loss of trade with Australia following the AUKUS deal.